In a thrilling competition in which Boyd Exell (AUS) was put under pressure by Georg von Stein (GER), Boyd put the accelerator on and claimed his 9th consecutive victory at the FEI World Cup™ Driving in Geneva. Von Stein finished in second place, while József Dobrovitz jr. (HUN) picked up important World Cup points by finishing in third place.
Dutch level 4 Course Designer Johan Jacobs had laid out a nice and fluent course in the very large arena in Geneva, where the beautiful water splash and the hill always ensure spectacular images. The Ground Jury included a former fellow four-in-hand driver; Swiss level 2 Driving Judge Daniel Würgler, who won the inaugural edition of the CAI-W Geneva in 2002.
The second round took place over an altered course and the drivers started from scratch. Dobrovitz jr. was first to go, but he lost precious seconds: “I wanted to go fast to put the pressure on, but in the second marathon obstacle I turned too slow and I lost time. I wanted to go even faster to make up for it and I turned onto the bridge too fast, so I had a knock down. I became a little tired and lost concentration, which caused another two balls to fall. But I am very happy with my top three place!”
Next driver in the arena Georg von Stein put the pressure on Boyd by driving a fast and clear round. The reigning German Champion finished third in Stuttgart where he competed with a wild card and now took home his first World Cup points of this season: “I have a very fast team, especially on the long lines I can make up a lot of time. I have watched the videos of the first competition and I learnt that my turns in the obstacles cost much time, so I know what I have to work on.”
The many enthusiastic spectators in the Palexpo arena held their breath when last starter Boyd Exell had one knock down, but the four-times World Champion passed the finish line 10 seconds faster than Von Stein and secured his 9th win in Geneva since he first won in 2008: “I have been helping Georg lately to make his team better, so on the one hand I was pleased for him, but on the other hand I really felt the pressure. At the split time I was four seconds up, but then I had that ball, which was really a driver mistake. I turned my wheeler horse too fast into the obstacle. But I made up time in that very same obstacle and in the last part of the course.”
Home driver Jérôme Voutaz finished in fourth place with his team of fast turning Freiberger horses, ahead of József Dobrovitz (HUN) and wild card drivers Benjamin Aillaud (FRA), driving a team of beautiful Lusitano’s and Werner Ulrich (SUI). For Ulrich, Geneva was his last competition as four-in-hand driver. The 57-year old very successful Swiss competitor retires from the four-in-hand sport, but will continue as a pair driver and trainer.
Results FEI World Cup™ Driving, Geneva (SUI), 11 December 2016:
1. Boyd Exell (AUS) 130,04
2. Georg von Stein (GER) 135,02
3. József Dobrovitz jr. (HUN) 147,27
4. Jérôme Voutaz (SUI) 145,97
5. József Dobrovitz (HUN) 149,80
6. Benjamin Aillaud (FRA) 150,15
7. Werner Ulrich (SUI) 163,54